Sunday, 27 May 2012

More creamy than red

A mini-twitch to West Hartford this afternoon did not provide the hoped-for red kite that Phil had a little while earlier, but a fly through female marsh harrier was new for 2012.

Several whitethroat, sedge warbler etc kept us going while we scanned the skyline to the north, while on the pool 4 shelduck and 2 coot remain.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

After nights

A week of nightshift complete, so a cycle to West Hartford was in order to blow the shackles of the heavy head away.

Rather quiet today, but a couple if garden warbler singing strongly was nice. 4 shelduck off and in the pool and maybe two pair of sedge warbler now. Grasshopper warbler still elusive and silent.

Water levels are still high, and the two oystercatcher that dropped in couldn't find a shore to their liking and promptly carried on after circling and skimming the pool.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Little by little

Caught up with little owl this afternoon on a pleasant bike ride through Cramlington, plenty of yellowhammer too.

Not hearing much in the way of sedge or grasshopper warbler though...

Ringed oh-zel!

A long anticipated Cramlington tick was provided courtesy of STH and GM mid evening on 23 May, in the horse paddocks adjacent to Beacon Lane.

Record iPhone image taken through GMs 'scope.

No immediate sign early morning today... So a hasty decision to quickly collect last night seems to have been the right move!

Monday, 21 May 2012

No Luck

A day or two late ~ Wrong direction on Saturday and work on Sunday.

So pre-nightshift on Monday it had to be.

A few wheatear were about as much as I could find on a walk from Chare Ends to the Lough on Holy Island.

An hour or so at the causeway as the tide pushed in was impressive to watch but without target species... A single little egret was mild compensation.

News of the male red backed shrikes' current location came to late.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Wrong Direction?

Headed south this morning to Teesside for a meet up with John B and Mark. Heavy rain predominated the visit, but we did manage to collect little ringed plover, avocet (many at Greatham Creek, good to see), reed warbler, 2 wood sandpiper, drake garganey, little egret, yellow wagtail and little gull.

Undoubted highlight of the trip was arriving at Cowpen Bewley late morning (no rain!), and being treated to very decent views of the singing nightingale - I think it's only the third I've actually "seen".

Look at the tree and listen to the nightingale here:

The week that was (not)

A week of earlies gave plenty of birding opportunities - all of which (bar cuckoo success) were fraught with dipping!

Holy Island causeway with Phil added whimbrel to the yearlist but no joy with our main quarries - Kentish plover or white-rumped sandpiper, while on Friday news of a male red backed shrike at Newbiggin provided another unsuccessful trip out.

Wonder what the strike rate will be this weekend?...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Double Trouble

After a week or so of gripping text messages, blog updates, gritty record shots from GM etc, I finally caught up with not one, but two cuckoo at West Hartford this afternoon. Doing a circuit west of the pool, the birds were occasionally vocal and under the duress of meadow pipit and the like. A first for me at this site, so appreciated as a claw back!

Over-cropped, but as it's my WH Cuckoo, I'll let this one go...
The pool was heaving with barn swallow, plus plenty of swift, sand martin and house martin.... A couple of sedge warbler sang but their grasshopper counterparts remain silent.

Coot remain (and are nesting), while shelduck numbered 2 on the pool and 2 over the River Blyth.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Seeing red, red, red, & not seeing red.

Suitably refreshed from the difficult early morning visit to West Hartford, Mark and I headed north on a planned casual potter in the search of migrants. However, the day was not as straight forward as it had initially seemed.None of that "look for our own birds" lark, its much easier to go and see what others have put effort in for!

So Lynemouth was our first stop, and two very nice red-rumped swallow were pointed out over the sewage works (found by Ian I believe - nice one).

Pretty much always distant the two overshoots were mixed in with healthy numbers of sand martin, house martin and barn swallow. A county tick for Mark, so a great start.

We had one brief close flypast, and all I could manage was a record shot of the bird veering off... not as photogenic as the Wallsend Swallow Pond bird a few years back...

There was some interesting conversation about antics at another site earlier in the morning. Suffice to say the culprit remains blissfully uneducated.

Next up, more watching birds that others had found. A cracking male whinchat near Cresswell was a year tick, while garaganey continue to elude.

Further north still, a stunning male red-backed shrike near Hauxley gave distant views but was much appreciated by all.

Chips consumed at Amble then up the coast for the final "red"... not so lucky this time the red-spotted bluethroat at Football Hole had last been seen a couple of hours before our arrival, no doubt disturbed by a horse or perhaps tresspassing tape wielding idio,,,,, whatever....

No worm for the early bird

A busy period at the "current" workplace, so messages of drake garganey, cuckoo, whinchat et al have been merely observed from afar this week.

I afforded a brief stop on the journey home last night, taking a quick binocular-less look/listen from the roadside at West Hartford - a single showy and vocal whitethroat was a belated year-tick.

This morning I arose early, very early infact, so the cycle-powered visit to West Hartford was underway by six and over not long after seven. Bright and sunny, but bloomin' cold!

Cuckoo - nil point
Whinchat - nil point
Garganey - nil point
Grasshopper Warbler - nil point (!)
Coot - 2+
Moorhen - 1
Mallard - 5
Cormorant - 3W
Sedge Warbler - 2+
Swift - 4
House Martin - 3
Barn Swallow - c20


More later?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Warbles, baldies & throats

A few visits to West Hartford during an autumnal week were insignificant ornithologically speaking, with an abundance of barn swallow, decreasing numbers of shelduck, a female gadwall and a couple of short-eared owl.

Sunday morning was better, with te first (and late) sand martin, increased number of house equivalent andbarn swallow. Shelduck numbered three, while of more interest were coot - been missing a while now, so two on the pool and one calling from the marsh to the south was notable. Grasshopper warbler are strange with their inconsistent appearances, with none heard today (despite favourable conditions). One sedge warbler was new for 2012.

The route home was via the industrial estate - a single lesser whitethroat was heard and seen well thanks to a tip off from Gordon.